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Old 04-10-2007, 17:54   #16
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Another reason to choose warm cruising destinations... I move into the cockpit when moving and single-handing. Other than ducking below for stores, chart checking, other very brief errands, I stay in the cockpit. I try to get my sleep moments during the day.

One thing I've found a personal weirdness: I feel better sailing coastal cruising at night. The lights are clear signatures, so I have a false sense of security because I know where I am and there are far fewer boats visible.
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Old 04-10-2007, 19:08   #17
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I have been mulling this one over - It seems that if you are within 12-18 hours of the coast you should be on deck and alert. This is where the traffic is. If you are coastal hopping I think planning for evening anchorages is prudent if possible.

If you are >18 hours off shore, avoid shipping lanes and get all the alarms and perhaps a radar with alarm.

I met a single hander a few months back that had a collision with a fishing boat. I understand the need to single hand but by definition you are violating the regs regarding lookouts.

I'd be a little peeved if I was hit by someone asleep at the wheel.
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Old 05-10-2007, 04:31   #18
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Can responsible singlehanded sailors achieve significant levels of collision avoidance, through the use of sophisticated equipment, or do they merely rely upon “statistical luck”?

If single-handed sailing prevents one from maintaining a "proper lookout," as defined by the Rules[1], the very act is negligent.

Normally You will not see a ship in the daytime until the hull comes over the horizon. During night time hours, The higher lights may be seen sooner, in clear weather with little starlight.
Often, a ship can be spotted about 30 minutes prior to a possible collision.
It takes some time to determine whether you are on a collision course and to take evasive action, so realistically, your potential sleep time is reduced from thirty minutes to twenty minutes.

*1. Colregs - Part B, Section I, Rule 5: ”"Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight as well as ...”
Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGs)
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:22   #19
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I loved the story in another thread of the sailor travelling between two island in the Carib. He set his autopilot for the day trip and went below to cook or something. He had been below for quite a while when he looked out the port to see another sailboat on an opposite course passing just a boat length away...
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Old 05-10-2007, 07:08   #20
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We all now the colregs, and try the best to abide b them and as a single hander I consider having a 24 nm radar set for 2 min sweeps every 15 min with the proximity alarm set while I have a sleep when doing a crossing is sufficent, and can be argued as complying with the regs as best a single hander can, when outside shipping lanes. When I need to stay awake as in close to the coastor in the shipping lanes I set a wind up kitchen timer for 15 min and keep resetting it, in the event I do nood off it wil be only for a few mins before I am reminded to keep my eyes open.
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Old 05-10-2007, 09:57   #21
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As far as how to stay awake when you have to?

An overland trucker gave me this tip - Chew Ice.

It works - Don't suck it - Chew it. It is impossible to sleep while chewing ice. Now, where to get 36 hours worth of ice on a sailboat - that's another problem - LOL.
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Old 05-10-2007, 13:26   #22
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Vida... that sailor was ME (between English Harbor and Deshais) and who wants to stay off rhumb lines? We ALL want to get there fast, the shortest most direct route... hence the possibility for collision. You see the cruise ships on the rhumb line between Bermuda and NYC.

Radar alarms as well as AIS audio alarms are a good thing... if it rang your cellphone that would get you up. hahahaha,

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Old 05-10-2007, 14:36   #23
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Can you sleep in 20 min. "naps", and remain effective & in command ?
I suggest that anyone contemplating this regimine would be wise to study the subject of sleep patterns, and exhaustion.

Sleeping for short naps, of around 15–30 minutes each, is called “Polyphasic sleep”[(1) (sometimes ‘Uberman Sleep”). The one- to two-week transition period of adapting to a polyphasic schedule can be very difficult, both mentally and physically. Accordingly, single-handers, should probably begin training for a cruise, not less than 2 weeks prior to departure. In addition to pre-conditioning yourself to this modified sleep pattern, establishing a comfortable and sustainable equilibrium, the pre-conditioning regime will establish your ability to adapt.

*1. There is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE supporting the efficacy of the polyphasic sleep pattern.
REM is the most important phase of sleep, the one in which you experience dreams, and when deprived of REM for too long, you suffer serious negative consequences. The (unsubstantiated) theory of Polyphasic sleep suggests that you condition your body to learn to enter REM sleep immediately, instead of much later in the sleep cycle.
Of course, such luminaries as Socrates and Buckminster Fuller have opined that sleep is just a “bad habit”.
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Old 05-10-2007, 16:10   #24
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I did the 20 minute routine a number of times. It's hell, but I don't see another alternative.

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Old 05-10-2007, 16:31   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defjef View Post
Vida... that sailor was ME (between English Harbor and Deshais)
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Jef,

Thanks! I still keep that in my thoughts, even if I am only cutting across Galveston Bay or down the coast.

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Old 05-10-2007, 21:24   #26
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When one of my friends does his single-handed passages, he often deviates as much as fifty miles off the direct route that ships would take that were travelling to the same destination. For example when sailing from New Zealand to Tonga, he might sail twenty-five miles to the east before heading north. That way, most of the northbound traffic will be west of him as he sails north.

When we sailed from the Galapagos to the Marquesas, we were outside the shipping lanes, and we still sailed close to six ships that were engaged in fishing. We maintained a watch around the clock, and so we saw the ships. I know other boats that slept eight hours each night on the same trip, and they saw no ships during that long passage. I have no doubt in my mind that they passed at least several ships during their sleeping hours.

On board Exit Only, we initially checked the horizon every fifteen minutes, but over time we had too many close encounters where ships coming from dead ahead closed on us at a scary speed. It became obvious that on our boat, our greatest risk was from boats coming directly toward us on the bow, and at our sailing speed (6-7 knots), it was necessary to check the horizon every ten minutes to be safe.

Some radars have a blind spot to the rear when the radar is in front of the mast. I know of one fishing trawler that got run down from the rear because the person on watch was in the wheel house looking forward, and never looked to the rear.
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Old 06-10-2007, 08:39   #27
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I hope no-one is lulled into a false sense of security just because they stay away from the commercial "routes". The commercial guys routinely deviate from the standard routes to avoid weather or take advantage of favourable streams, or destination changes enroute (which is surprisingly common with commodities that can change hands during shipment, like oil). Fishing fleets follow the fish, not shipping routes. Naval vessels typically conduct operations away from the standard routes, too. Murphy's rule of open ocean sailing states that if there are only two vessels in a million square miles of open ocean, they will eventually both try to occupy the same square inch of water at the same time.
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Old 06-10-2007, 22:11   #28
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Very interesting thread.I am presently refitting my 30ft steel sloop for extensive offshore cruising.I have a lot of sailing exp,but all coastal thus far.Have installed two autopilots.Hydrovane wind,and Raymarine electric that both work well.But us humans need to sleep,i dont think i can do 20mins at a time.The CARD Collision Avoidance Radar Detector,seems agood idea to me.Alarm sounds when you are picked up on radar,then gives you a bearing so you can tell if a collision is eminent.I hope to have crew for longer passages,but if not,then stay out of the shipping lanes,let god take watch,and sleep withone eye open.Commercial ships are required to have and use radar i understand. Its a risk,but crossing oceans is a risk.If its not a risk you are willing to take,then stay coastal,or crew is a must. I certainly dont want to be abow ornament on a supertanker! BILL s/v Happy Adventure
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:30   #29
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You can rely on radar collision avoidance alarms and get some sleep.. assuming it will work and it will wake you up.

But there's sail trim too and auto pilot failure to deal with.

Another story.

I was single handing from Antigua to Bermuda and there was not a pip of wind so I was motoring along with my wake trailing behind into infinity. Bummer, but I was making 6+ knots on the rhumb line.

I took my twenty minute nap before sunrise, radar alarms set... and now used to the drone of the motor. As I slept the sun rose in the east... no surprise in that.

Funny thing happened. I was sleeping on the starboard side (east side of the north bound boat) and the sun hit me in the face... and feeling the warmth I jumped up. That makes no sense!

And lo and behold and I don't know to this day how this happened but the autopilot decided to dis engage and we made a large arc and were heading South for more than 20 minutes since my last fix when I went to sleep.

Not a biggie... no collision... but were it not for the sun and plotting a fix every 20 min I and/or checking the compass... I might have been further back on my track.

I got everything back working and retraced the same path loosing about 45 minutes in the whole journey.

Single handers should make landfall in good light and fair conditions whenever possible, even hove too off shore until conditions are favorable.

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Old 09-10-2007, 10:33   #30
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I wonder how many "skippers" actually sail single handed when they have a crew and "think" that are on watch? I know I've gone up the companion way to see the on-watch person looking forward, eyes wide open but with something of a glaze appearance and have them not notice my presents directly in front of them until I either touch or say something... then they usually jump out of their skins wondering how all of a sudden I just appears from thin air. Too many get what truckers called white line feaver.... awake but really not aware what is going on around them, in a semi trance. When someone can't see me standing directly in front of them for 10 to 15 seconds ( let us say I'm well over 200 but less than 260lb and 6'2") it is almost as much shock to me as it must have been for them to suddenly have me pop into existence a few feet from them.

I know of one skipper that gives the new watch person an egg timer set at 7 min and requires them to mark a GPS on a posted board attached to the companion way... they have to get up and move to it to mark it. Probably not a bad idea for some watch people... but if most of us suggested it we may have a long swim back to the dock!!!
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